Monday, June 12, 2006

The Teaser Storm

As I type this, the torrential rains brought in by Tropical Storm Alberto are thrumming again my window pane. My wish for rain has been granted; now, I just hope that we get enough to put out the brush fire. Judging by the gray skies and soggy ground, that's not going to be a problem.

In the cosmic scheme of life in Florida, Alberto is just a "teaser storm." Sure, it's bringing bands of wind and rain, but after Hurricane Charley two seasons ago, it seems like nothing more than a really, really long version of our typical afternoon thunderstorms.

It's sort of like a practice run...Nature's version of a school fire drill. Even though we knew Alberto wouldn't hit the Orlando area too badly, people have taken it as a sign to make sure that their pantries are stocked. It's an excuse to inventory outside areas and build awareness of items that could easily be "gone with the wind." Are there batteries in the weather radio? The flashlights? Is the roof sturdy enough to hold up to a real hurricane? This first topical storm of the season reminds us that hurricane season is, indeed, here...that Charley, Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and Katrina in 2005 are not just distant nightmares. God forbid, history could repeat itself, and we all must be prepared.

Alberto has also served as the opportunity to rekindle another rite of the summer, at least in our home. When Halloween is coming, you break out the jack o'lanterns and corn stalks. With Christmas, it's colored lights, tinsel, and holly. With hurricane season, it's an obsession with The Weather Channel and (the hurricane tracking site). I've had my eye on NOAA ever since Alberto was in its infancy, fixated on its potential strength and projected path. Since my husband and I both work at home, TWC has been on our television non-stop, even though we could just as easily look out the window.

At least this storm is bringing us a lot of good, in the form of much-needed moisture. The first bands brought some rainfall yesterday, and I was ready to rejoice among the raindrops as they fell on the parched earth. I was at the barn, and the rain started literally as I pulled into the driveway. Living in Florida, I've learned that the bands bring their downpours in waves. I simply waited till the first wave past, then managed to get in some riding time before the next one hit. Figment and I waited that one out in the barn, then snuck in a little more work before another band unleased its watery load.

It looks like Figgie will have a couple of days of leisure now, and when the rain is over, the pastures should start coming in lush and green. He already thinks he died and went to Heaven; in Chicago, he was turned out in a dirt corral with hay, but now he spends his days grazing on fresh grass. It must be like the differences between living on military MREs and then suddenly switching to gourmet cuisine.

He has taken to life in Florida very well, although being torn away from his former herdmates has had a psychological effect. If I take him out of view of the other horses now, he gets quite agitated and whinnies for them frantically. It's something I'll be able to break him of in time, and meantime I'll cut him some slack...he's been through quite a transition.

I can't really complain about his progress; he works well in the round pen, and I've been riding him all over the owner's property, through the orange grove next door, and down the road. The next step will be a short jaunt to the state park to start getting him accustomed to the trails.

But that's not going to happen until later in the week; for now, I'm housebound and watching the rain. I don't mind being stuck inside one bit, as I know how much we need this water. It will feel so good to see the grass come up green again and see the water levels of the lakes rise back to where they should be.

I know it's wishful thinking, but how nice it would be if this were the worst we would get this year. Sure, that's unrealistic, but after the last few years, we could really, really use a tame one. Only about five more months to go.....

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1 comment:

i *heart* paper said...

Just found your blog while searching for info on Celebration. I love it and will be back often!! Is there a community calendar anywhere online that you know of? We're trying to find out festivities for the 4th of July :-)

Best wishes!!